Time to raise the bar again and burst into print (despite being told ad nauseam that the public nowadays has little appetite for reading) . The tweet triumphs.
Just a passing aberration according to this dinosaur – we can’t allow Trump et al to determine our habits. Anyway, it’s pruning time with unwelcome rain, howling gale, frogs, pestilence etc. I’m indoors and just located my quill pen. Tremble dear reader!
The joke’s on me
The other day someone unleashed a joke which Coney found not merely amusing but verging on the hilarious. It was a variation on the well-worn one which goes, “In the wine game, how do you make a small fortune” with the mocking answer “start with a large one.” This sounded funny the first time a lapsed city dweller heard it, but less so now that we know it to be true.
Back to the joke. A long-term farmer, recent winner of lotto, was finally run to earth by a nosy journalist (hoping to tweet?!) who asked, “And what do you intend to spend your newly acquired fortune on?” After scarcely a moment’s thought, and with a level look, the cocky said, “I think I’ll just continue farming until its all run out”.
Which sort of raises the issue of Lifestyle versus Profitability, something that could be closely connected to Trump’s assertions about fake news, alternative facts etc. It’s not a new idea! Hitler and Goebbels knew about the irrelevancy of truth and fact and the triumph of tittle tattle and the demagogue. Repeat a lie often and loud enough and they knew that most of the great unwashed accept it.
This is why the eccentric but brainy Lord Bertrand Russell once reminded people that travelling sceptically is preferable to living in a trance of your own making. As you’ve worked out, much of the wine game is smoke and mirrors with only your palate and wallet separating the devil and the deep blue sea.
Although it may sound like heresy to disparage aspects of the wine industry a good dose of reality can do no harm, so here goes:
A recent real estate billboard appearing on one of Martinboroughs up-for-sale vineyards, blared the following in capitals: LIFESTYLE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY!! This is obviously designed to ensnare/entrap the gullible. Lets take these snake oil words one by one.
Lifestyle; To the easily impressionable, when applied to wine/vineyards, on a nice day with the cicadas out and sun on the shoulders, Lifestyle means Coney sauntering out onto the verandah mid-morning, still in his PJ’s, beret on head, whistling a cheerful ditty,first wine of the day in hand. Reality is: just before dawn at first light, gumboots on, Coney stumbles into row 73 and resumes, on hands and knees, the budrubbing that will take a further 10 days to complete. Oh, I forgot – I’m allowed a restorative cuppa with biscuit and cheese for smoko, sandwich at lunch, gruel for dinner – the high life. Saving grace for the seven day a week vineyard toil is Catherine Ryan’s nine-till-noon followed by The Sound or Magic in the afternoon.Reception is a bit dodgy but if you tilt your head nor nor east you can also get the concert programme. Nothing wrong with a little Bach or Brahms to keep things in perspective.
Investment: This cheerful, optimistic term implies that the vineyard/winery owner gets a return on his outlay. Coney understands this positive possibility but hasn’t yet experienced it. There is not a single 10-20 acre block where a husband (or modern equivalent) enquires rhetorically of his wife (or modern equivalent) every mealtime, “I wonder when we’ll stop having to fund this hairbrained enterprise”. This is why realistic couples make sure that one of the two retains their city day job, or why the bloke suggests his Sheila should go on the Game. As a bold generalisation, every farmer, horticulturalist, viticulturalist, knows that gazing at the attractive distant hills on a warm clear day is the sole tangible benefit of his chosen profession. Oh, I gorgot, there’s always plenty of wine in the larder.
And so to –
Opportunity; This is a modern word designed to challenge self-worth. It is a word used when parents want to see their child of modest talent triumph boldly over the impossible. Take a plump young girl who has been cast as the heroine in Swan Lake. She is persuaded this is a once in a lifetime opportunity not be renounced. And so, at showtime, as the curtain rises, the proud parents get their comeuppance as their darling girl, tutu swirling, thunders across the stage to mad applause. Opportunity assuaged. Don’t miss it.
Painting the wine game in this (uncharitable?) light has an object. It serves to remind anyone who is thinking of abandoning their current job and tossing it in for a life of idle ease that they should stay put, recognising the difference between lifestyle and life sentence. This will also produce the useful consequence of not increasing the supply of wine in an already oversupplied market.
Better to concentrate on drinking Coney wine rather than a making it – that’s best left to the idiots.
Try the Ragtime or Pizzicato. Not bad – order from this website.